A forced perspective


So, I looked up the words “forced smile” in the dictionary…

Hey wait, this lady looks familiar.

Like someone else, all grown up…



Family Time

Normally, on Fridays, I would be posting a flashback, but today is very special. In honor of Valentine’s day, I thought it would be nice to spend some quality time with the ones you love.

A friend of the blog, Michelle, allowed me to use this picture, circa 1966, for today’s post.

As we look at this prime example of home-sewn goodness, let us not forget that we all have questionable clothing skeletons rattling around in our closets. I encourage everyone to send me pictures of their early sewing disasters challenges projects so that we can all begin the healing process. You can send them to sadpatterns (at) gmail (dot) com.

I promise to go easy on you, but not that much.

feb2014hWith that smile, the young lady in the middle clearly knows something the others don’t.

You know, in all fairness, it’s not easy to pull off wearing living room curtains as a dress, but these two girls give it their best shot.

Oh and don’t worry about junior there; he’s just upset that mom wouldn’t sew fringe to his overalls.

The way we were

Some of you may ask the question: “Gilbert, how can you be so mean to some of these patterns? In the right hands, they could be really well made and reflect a sense of style and class.”

And the answer I would give to you would be: “Honey, I have made so many of the patterns featured on this site, I can honestly say that, in the wrong hands, they can be a deadly weapon.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my own, personal machete:

A patchwork upholstery and satin shirt.

Yes, that’s me circa 1995/6 ish. The young lady in the picture is my sister. I have cropped most of her out so the embarrassment of being seen next to me in that thing is minimized.

The poses were supposed to be a silly tribute to old Hollywood, but they come off more as a drunken stagger. My sister got us tickets to see a production of Grease at the Wortham Theater here in Houston. Yes, she was seen in public with me while I was wearing this shirt.

I still owe her restitution.

I had gotten a bunch of upholstery samples from a local Interior design firm and thought they all needed to be incorporated into one outfit. I was obsessed with satin at the time and the bonus was that it was cheap polyester satin, so it was EXTRA special!!

You have no idea how much I loved sewing for myself back then. It was a magical thing to take flat fabric and make something dimensional out if it. Do I regret wearing this for people to see? Sure. Would I change the fabric selection? Most definitely.  Is this memory of my sister and I having a blast and bonding something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life, ABSOLUTELY!

So you see, we all have to start somewhere. That place might be something magnificent or it could be a patchwork nightmare of drapery textiles; either way, we grow from it and learn.

Because of fabric collisions like that shirt, I was able to learn from my mistakes and teach a new generation how to pattern and sew their own clothes. Hopefully, you’ll learn from your past and teach a future generation to make their own, wise clothing construction decisions.

Just avoid polyester satin and decorator fabrics along the way and you’ll be fine!

Pump up the volume!


My friend Cheryl sent me this picture.

The only caption I saw for this photo was “hostess pajamas”

I can’t even…


Blow ’em up!

I remember tennis shoes with an inflatable bladder in the tongue that allowed you to get a tighter fit on the foot.

I have played with my fair share of pool toys that required endless minutes of lung-exhausting puffs to get them unfurled.



Apparently this was a fad weight loss device that was actually for sale at one point.

I wonder if you can chose fashionable prints?

Gosh, don’t they look comfortable to sit in?

I know that when I work out, I want my ass to feel like it’s being bear-hugged by the Michelin Man. Oh and if you can throw in a slenderizing massage, all the better!

Sad Patterns is all about this kind of fashion nonsense. Just imagine being the patternmaker that had to draft these things. When the first samples came back, he or she was probably given notes like: “leg needs fuller air bladder”, “seat area is not puffy enough” and “is there any possible way you can make them more unflattering?”


Read another take on them here at I09.

Deja vu all over again!

Now, I’m all for paying homage to the past when it comes to design. It is virtually impossible to make clothes now-a-days without referencing something from the annals of fashion history; however, this Simplicity pattern seems to go a bit too far with its reference to a dress Yves St. Laurent made back in the 60’s. St. Laurent was inspired by the stark, linear work of Piet Mondrian’s modern abstract paintings. Obviously, Mondrian wins the race, considering it’s his work that started the ball rolling, but it just goes to show you how something so exclusive, like a painting, can get diffused down to the masses.

Here’s the breakdown:

One of the original paintings (Mondrian did a series of them):

St. Laurent’s dress:

Simplicity pattern:

And baby makes two…

Oh dear.

I was sent this glorious example of experimental sewing by my friend Laura. I can’t tell you how much it delights me to know that when one of my friends sees something this strange, they instantly think of me.

I feel sorry for the baby. It’s bad enough to spend nine months locked in a squishy cell with only a feeding tube and uterus to keep you company, but to finally break free of all of that and then get put in a fleece hole that restricts movement… that’s just cruel and unusual.

I’m not sure if this is for the baby’s comfort or the mother’s. I would think that after nine months of carrying a twelve pound lump of flesh around, mom would want a break. Isn’t that why they invented strollers?

It would make more sense to have designed this for dad. “Here you go daddy. You’re the reason I got preggers in the first place. Now you can see what an aching back, distended belly and having nothing fit correctly feels like. I’ll be at the spa. Toodles!”